In practice

So to sum up my strategy for gambling, the way to maximize my time at the table for the amount I am losing is to put a limit on daily losses. As an example, I will use my just completed trip to Las Vegas as an example. My limit for this trip was $300 a day.

So day one, I played for 2 hours and lost $40 before getting tired and going to bed.

Day two, we went to watch a hockey game at a sports bar before hitting the casino. At the casino, I lost $300 in a total of four hours of play. My total loss for the trip is $340.

Day three, we played Craps for 2 hours after breakfast. I won $300 in that morning session before losing $400 in the afternoon. That means I am down a total of $440.

Day four was Saturday. I wound up losing my full $300, meaning I was down $740 for the trip.

On Sunday, I needed to play slots to earn some comps. I wound up winning $182 on slots before we had to go pickup my mother in law at the airport, and her flight was delayed by 4 and a half hours due to storms in Orlando. I found a Craps table at NYNY and won nearly $1,500.

On day six, I played for just a little bit before heading to the airport and won another $100 and change.

So I began the trip with $1,500 in gambling funds and got back on the plane home with just under $2,400. Not bad for a 6 day trip.

We flew from Orlando to Las Vegas for $400 each, round trip. We checked into the Park MGM. The first four nights were free because of comps.

In total, we spent about $750 in food and alcohol, mostly because we had some comps.

One thing that I want to mention is comps. Those are the free perks that you get for gambling. We stick with the one that gives us the best offers. In our case, that is MGM Resorts.

In this case, we stayed in the hotel for 5 nights at a total cost of $223. I had gotten comped 4 nights for just the cost of resort fees. We also got $200 in free slot play and $100 in free food and drink. I get offers for comped stays 4 or 5 times a year. Sometimes with comped resort fees, sometimes not.

What this means is that we spent under $1,800 for a 6 day, 5 night vacation. Factor in the money won at the table and it was even cheaper.

We went to street party for the Las Vegas hockey team and ate some pretty good BBQ ribs, saw a couple of shows, and did a bit of sightseeing. I got to see an obviously rich Chinese guy take out a $100,000 loan from the casino to gamble with. Saw a fight, got in a fight, and had a pretty good time.

Now I am getting on the plane to go home back to work while my wife is staying in Vegas with her mother for a few more days of mother/daughter time. Now to get some sleep on the plane. I won’t be home until 4 am.

Use of Force

I just had the oddest experience that I have ever had in Las Vegas. It ended in a use of force incident.

My wife and I were playing Craps at Harrah’s this morning. My wife was standing to my left. We were at the end of the table and a woman walked up to the table on my right and tried to buy in with $25 cash and a slot machine ticket worth $77. The dealer told the woman that tickets were not accepted at the tables, and directed her to the cashier’s cage that was 20 feet away. The woman left the $25 in chips on the table and headed that way.

She returned 10 minutes later, and I pointed out to her that the chips she had left behind were still there. She said “I don’t care about that, it’s chump change,” then put the chips on the field. I was the shooter and rolled a 6. Her money was taken by the dealer. She asked the dealer to place another bet, the dealer asked for money, the woman again tried to use the slot machine ticket. My wife helpfully told her that she needed to use cash. She left. After she was gone, I made a joke: “That’s what happens when you legalize pot.” The entire table laughed, dealers included.

She came back a third time, about 15 minutes later. She stood so close to me that our shoulders were touching, despite the fact that no one else was at our end of the table. I slid my chips to my left, away from her and closer to my wife. It made me nervous. The woman said, pointing to my wife,”She isn’t helping me. I should just punch her.” I told the woman that this would be a bad idea and that she needed to leave. I asked the dealer to call security. I couldn’t leave, because I had about $200 in play. The woman left, and the dealer said, “She is someone else’s problem now.”

You guessed it- she was back 5 minutes later. The stupid ass tried using the slot ticket again. She said, “I don’t have any circle things (meaning chips?) to play with, so I will just take some of his.” She then reached in and grabbed a handful of my chips with her right hand.

I grabbed the offending hand HARD and twisted towards me as I stepped to my right, into her, planting my foot behind her. At the same time, I lifted her arm and pushed. Off balance, she started to fall and I was just starting to finish the move when my wife yelled “stop.” I eased up and let the woman keep her feet. Security was there pretty quickly. They removed her from the property. As they were doing so, she insisted that security get a supervisor and “fully document” the incident. She will be lucky if they don’t have her arrested.

My wife later said she was worried that I would be the one who got in trouble. She also said that she wasn’t sure that I needed to use force. I explained that the woman had already verbally signaled her willingness to get violent and was in the act of committing robbery. What I did was a clear case of the lawful use of force in self defense.

First time I have ever had to use force in my wife’s presence.

McAfee

I bought a new laptop last year. It came with McAfee antivirus. Because I was working from home, I got an email virus from a work email. I don’t think I was the target, I think the hackers were trying to target my school district. The payload was the ech0raix malware. McAfee never detected the virus, and didn’t do a thing to clean the computer.

I lost everything. All of my data. The weakness of the virus is that it saves an encrypted version of all of your files using a randomly generated key. No one with the possible exception of the NSA can decrypt it. Then it deletes the original. That was the weakness that my IT friend was able to exploit. We got the files back, but filenames and metadata was lost. So now I have a couple of hundred thousand files without names. The only way to find out what a file is, is to open it and then rename the file. I gave up on that about 11 months ago. Tedious.

Why do I mention this now?

Because McAffee is telling me that my year subscription is up, and is asking me to renew. They have a money back guarantee that, if you get a virus and they cannot retrieve your data, they will refund you the purchase price of their software.

Being a gambler, I can tell you that this is a sucker’s bet. The overwhelming majority of their users won’t get a virus, thus making you the loser of the bet and McAfee the winner. Those who DO get the virus must send the computer in to be ‘cleaned’ and data recovered, if possible. Those who can’t be cleaned, McAfee ‘loses’ the bet, and you ‘win’ your money back- a push.

This virus software is not very good, and their “guarantee” is a sucker’s bet- a gimmick designed to take your money.

More on my issue

This is more on my issue with the job. I am writing all of this down because it will help me think this through. It also makes for a great post.

This supervisory position where I am working was created a year ago after some patient safety incidents, one of which ultimately resulted in the death of a patient. There was a big management shakeup because of it. This resulted in the old department head for my department getting replaced with the one that is my current boss.

The new boss decided that this unit needed more direct supervision. That is why the supervisors were hired- all within the last year. I was the last of the four who were hired. All of the other three have since moved on. What does THAT tell you about the work culture of this hospital? I don’t know- no one is talking, but the turnover tells me a lot. There is a HUGE morale problem in the place. Keep in mind that my unit is currently at half staffing. **

After I was hired, my boss told me that if we didn’t change how we were doing business, it was likely that state regulators were going to shut us down. It was crazy. This unit had been operating without written policies or procedures for over a decade. That is right in my wheelhouse- one of my Bachelor’s degrees is in EMS systems, and another one is in Public Safety and Health Management. (The other two are in Fire Science and Emergency Medicine)

So I spent my first two weeks there learning how this place did business. Then I wrote an entire policy manual over the next two weeks and submitted it to administration for approval- keeping best practices, and discarding ones that were inefficient or dangerous. Then I went out and took the boards to become nationally certified for this particular job, passed them, and turned my new certs into the hospital. None of that was a part of my job description. I did it because it needed to be done.

The people at HR told me that none of that matters. THAT is what upsets me. The job seems like a good opportunity, because it is badly in need of leadership. However, this issue with the pay and with HR seems like the place may not be salvageable.

The CFO was walked out by security on Friday. It may be that this was not the opportunity it seemed to be when I took the job.

Anyway, I wait and see what the application to the other hospital looks like.

Conundrum

Three months ago, I was hired as one of four shift supervisors for a unit in a local hospital: two on days, two on nights. I was to be one of the daytime supervisors. The unit is budgeted for 14 employees. They had 11 at the time I was hired.

When they made the offer, I was not entirely satisfied with the pay offered. I asked them if there was room for negotiation, and HR told me no. I told them that I would have to contact them in a day or two. I talked it over with my wife, and we took the offered pay.

After I was hired, one of the night supervisors had to resign because his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Two of the others transferred to other departments within two months of me being hired. I am the only supervisor left. On top of that, two employees retired and three resigned in the past month. We are operating by using overtime employees from other units, and by hiring temporary travel nurses.

As a result, I have been working 12 hours a day, six days a week. It’s been tough. I am exhausted.

Yesterday they hired another day shift supervisor, and I begin training him in two weeks. We will be splitting the day schedule: three days one week, four the next. The problem I have?

I got his new hire packet, and I am livid. He is making ten percent more than I am, and he doesn’t have as many certifications or as much experience as I do. He is ten years younger than I am. I went to my boss (the department director), who told me that pay is decided by HR, and suggested I talk to them. So I did.

They refuse to talk to me about the other employee, his experience, or his pay. I get that. They also said that my certifications are not pertinent to pay, because they aren’t required for the job.

I like the job, and I was happy with the conditions, and satisfied with the pay. Until I saw his, and realized that I am training an employee less qualified and making more money.

I just saw another job at another nearby hospital. I am more than qualified for that, and they are offering a four-figure signing bonus. The difference is that I don’t think it will be as satisfying or challenging. I applied. If I am offered the job (which I probably will be), and the pay is higher (I don’t know) I will use it as a bargaining chip where I am. If that doesn’t get me what I want, I might just walk.

I don’t know yet. Stay where I like the job, but am not respected and not making as much as I could? Or a less fulfilling job that is more lucrative?

I guess that will depend on how this plays out.

Employee trouble

My post of this afternoon centered around employees feeling like they are owed something, simply because they had been employees for a long time, even if those employees hadn’t done anything to improve themselves for (in some cases) decades. There is a reason for that post.

I was hired into a management position at a hospital. When I was hired, I got a lot of pushback. It seems that the employees of the department who had been there for a long time were upset that someone was brought in from the outside, and felt that the position should have gone to them, because they had been there for a long time. One employee told me that she felt like her 17 years there meant nothing and that I got that promotion simply because “I rode around in a truck for a few years.” I told her that it wasn’t just my time on an ambulance that mattered. It was my certifications, my four college degrees, my years of experience as a supervisor that landed me that position. I advised her that she should take advantage of our employer’s tuition reimbursement program, so she could be more qualified the next time a promotion became available. She quit a week later.

Other employees told me that they felt like our employer should pay more. I listened and went to management, who told me that they won’t pay more unless the employees gain a skill. I went back to my employees with a deal: I would help them learn the material to take an exam to earn a certification pertinent to our job, and if they passed the exam, our employer would give them a 20% raise. The cost of the exam is $200. I was willing to teach them on my own time.

The employees refused, saying that they would only take the class if they were on the clock, and refused to pay for the exam fees out of their own pocket. So to sum it up, they want a raise, more training, more certifications, and they want their employer to pay for it all. Why would any employer do all of that? It makes no economic sense. It would be cheaper to let you quit and hire more qualified employees.

If employees refuse to make themselves more valuable, how can they expect to make more money?

Work and family

I wanted to post more on my series on Craps today, but my mother is getting married this weekend, plus my new job is causing me to put in a lot of work.

Maybe Sunday.

Obligation

My 20 year old nephew, who I have written about in the past, still lives with his parents. He talked my brother into letting his 17 year old girlfriend (who is still attending high school) live in the house with them. She announced last month that she is pregnant. They have no plans on getting married, but do intend to continue living with my brother.

My nephew has no job, his pregnant girlfriend is still in high school, and is living in my brother’s house.

They had themselves a gender reveal party. Her family was there, and I got to meet them for the first time. A hint to what kind of people they are was to be found in front of my brother’s house. This is a picture of the rear window of one of their cars.

Yes, the girlfriend’s brother is a full on Antifa member. They all have “medical marijuana” cards (nephew, and pregnant girlfriend’s family) and retreated to the back yard to smoke up.

Let’s just say that I did not exactly enjoy the afternoon.

Uniform aggravation

When I began my new job, I was told that I needed to wear scrubs. I could wear any color except black, denim, camouflage, or pediatric prints. So I got blue and dark red. Five sets, at $40 each set.

Two months later, and the announcement was made that they are changing the color schemes. We are going to be color coded by our job. I will be required to wear teal. The change goes into effect October 1.

So now I have $200 in scrubs that will not be wearable, another set of unreimbursed scrubs to buy, and employee expenses are no longer tax deductible.

Aw, Craps

If you have read this blog for any time at all, you know that one of my vices is that I like to gamble. It all began when I had to take statistics in college, where my professor used casino games to teach us statistics. For that reason, I learned several casino games, and the one that really stuck was Craps.

It is a straightforward game of math, and once the rules are understood, fairly easy to play. The math can be done in your head pretty quickly. I get tired of always talking about the decay of our society, so I thought that I could do a few posts that were more fun (for me) to write to break things up a bit.

The rules for Craps are easy, but since it is a fast moving game and there are lots of bets that can be made, people who watch the game get easily confused and are often scared away from the game. Let me tell you though, that a busy table with a hot shooter is pretty exciting and makes for a fun game.

The rules are simple: The shooter picks up two sixed sided dice and rolls them to the other end of the table. (Most casinos have the rule that the dice must hit the wall at the opposite side of the table.) The first time the shooter rolls is called the “come out roll.” If the dice show a 7 or 11, the shooter wins. If the dice show a 2, 3, or 12, the shooter loses. Any other number becomes the “point” and the shooter continues to roll until they either roll a 7 (which causes the shooter to lose) or again rolls the point (for which the shooter wins). As long as the shooter continues to win, they continue to roll the dice. If the shooter loses on the come out roll, they can try again, but if they lose by rolling a 7 after the point is set, the dealer passes the dice to the player on the losing shooter’s left, and that person becomes the new shooter. That’s it for the rules of the game.

Everything else that happens on the table is betting that the shooter will win or lose, or is a bet on what numbers will appear on upcoming rolls of the dice.

Upcoming posts will deal with the math of the game and what the odds are for different outcomes.

Let me close out this post by pointing out something which many people will try to lie about: The only winner in casino gambling is the owner of the casino. The math is set up so that the longer you play, the more likely you are to lose. It’s math- there is no way around it.

Even games like blackjack, where people try to convince you that they “count cards” and have a system to always win, are set up so the casino comes out ahead. If it weren’t, everyone who plays in the casino would soon adopt this system and the casino would go out of business. I don’t play to make money, I play because it entertains me. I also know that over the long term, I lose money in the casino. I just try to maximize gains and minimize losses. Here are my rules for gambling:

  • 1 I know that I will lose money over the long term. It is mathematically certain. So budget your gambling and stick to it.
  • 2 I gamble because it is fun and entertaining. If I ever find myself gambling while desperate to win because I need the money, it is time to quit.
  • 3 Don’t ever gamble with money you can’t afford to lose. If you are gambling your rent or grocery money, that isn’t entertainment, it’s desperation.

My wife initially didn’t like it, but then she came to realize that I Am responsible with it. Although the first time she came to the table and saw that I was making individual bets of over $100 and had more than $1200 on the table, she was a little nervous. At the time, she didn’t realize that it wasn’t my money I was gambling with. More on that in a future post.